Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilich (1840-93), Russian composer, the foremost of the 19th century.
Tchaikovsky was born May 7, 1840, in Votkinsk, in the western Ural area of the country. He studied law in Saint Petersburg and took music classes at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. There his teachers included the Russian composer and pianist Anton Rubinstein, from whom Tchaikovsky subsequently took advanced instruction in orchestration. In 1866 the composer-pianist Nicholas Rubinstein, Anton's brother, obtained for Tchaikovsky the post of teacher of harmony at the Moscow Conservatory. There the young composer met the dramatist Aleksandr Nikolayevich Ostrovsky, who wrote the libretto for Tchaikovsky's first opera, The Voyevoda (1868). From this period also date his operas Undine (1869) and The Oprichnik (1872); the Piano Concerto no. 1 in B-flat Minor (1875); the symphonies no. 1 (called “Winter Dreams,” 1868), no. 2 (1873; subsequently revised and titled “Little Russian”), and no. 3 (1875); and the overture Romeo and Juliet (1870; revised in 1870 and 1880). The B-flat piano concerto was dedicated originally to Nicholas Rubinstein, who pronounced it unplayable. Deeply injured, Tchaikovsky made extensive alterations in the work and reinscribed it to the German pianist Hans Guido von Bülow, who rewarded the courtesy by performing the concerto on the occasion of his first concert tour of the U.S. (1875-76). Rubinstein later acknowledged the merit of the revised composition and made it a part of his own repertoire. Well known for its dramatic first movement and skillful use of folklike melodies, it subsequently became one of the most frequently played of all piano concertos.
Period of Productivity
In 1876 Tchaikovsky became acquainted with Madam Nadejda von Meck, a wealthy widow, whose enthusiasm for the composer's music led her to give him an annual allowance of 600 pounds. Fourteen years later, however, Madame von Meck, believing herself financially ruined, abruptly terminated the subsidy. Although Tchaikovsky's other sources of income were by then adequate to sustain him, he was wounded by the sudden defection of his patron without apparent cause, and he never forgave her. The period of his connection with Madame von Meck was one of rich productivity for Tchaikovsky.
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Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky životopis
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